Ex-Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise has retired from football, announcing the news in a Norwegian blog post, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
The hard-hitting full-back returned to his former club Aalesund recently, the Norwegian club where he started his career. He made a handful of appearances earlier in 2016, but at 35-years-old has now decided to retire from the game.
He posted a long and emotional retirement speech online, suggesting that although he had originally planned to carry on for much longer, his body was no longer up to the physical demand and he was forced to call time on his lengthy career.
“A top athlete must always sure to be physically prepared for the best performances,” he wrote.
“They must align themselves with a different lifestyle than others, and to succeed as a footballer you have to have a mental strength that can withstand being tested every week.
“Every fight is a public examination where you’re measured and judged.
“But beneath all this lies the joy. The joy of playing football and success, both as a team and individual.
“The joy that creates a glow to master all training sessions and matches throughout the season. I had it in my entire career.
“My inner goal was to play football at the Norwegian top level until I was 40. But that is not to be. It stops here.
“The reason you know for sure now. Lately there has emerged a completely new feeling in me, feeling that joy, glow but no longer strong enough to perform at my best.
“I like to play football, but the motivation is still not strong enough to run the race at the highest level.
“This body – and this head – has been through so much over the last 20 years. It is an admission that is both heavy and painful, and very full of emotion, but it is most of all honest.”
Riise was an incredibly memorable player for so many reasons, not least because he was part of the 2005 Champions League winning heroes. He was also known for his venomous free-kicks and long-shots, scoring some truly spectacular goals throughout his 300-plus games with Liverpool.
Riise obviously hasn’t been part of the Anfield setup since 2008, but he is still fondly remembered and will always be known as a Liverpool legend.
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